My husband runs a children’s cycle training programme in tandem (tee hee!) with the Department for Transport, and so he likes to know whenever cycling is discussed in the corridors of power. To this end, he subscribes to updates from a nifty little service called TheyWorkForYou. According to their website: “TheyWorkForYou takes open data from the UK Parliament, and presents it in a way that’s easy to follow – for everyone. So now you can check, with just a few clicks: are They Working For You?” I have set up a daily search for the term “money laundering”, which means that I get a daily summary of all the instances in which money laundering was mentioned in Parliament – in the chambers or in committee or in written questions.
And I will confess that I have been pleasantly surprised by how often we crop up. Last Wednesday, for instance (before everyone headed home to indulge in Easter eggs), money laundering was mentioned in two debates in the Commons, one debate in Westminster Hall and three written answers. On the other hand, I have also been slightly alarmed by the lack of understanding of some of the issues; in one written question, an MP asked whether the government had plans to “requisition empty flats and houses that have been used for (i) speculation and (ii) money laundering purposes to help reduce street homelessness”. Quite what legal route might be used to requisition an empty property bought with the proceeds of crime and then turn it over to the government, I am not certain. But, as Oscar Wilde would have it, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, and the more people who think about and discuss money laundering, the better.